Augusta Business Daily

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Technical college offers forklift training program to local inmates

A group of local inmates is now eligible for jobs in the logistics industry, thanks to a partnership between the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office and Augusta Technical College.

The college recently offered a two-day continuing education forklift certification course to 12 men who were about to be released from jail in Augusta. The detention center paid for the program.

The college’s President, Dr. Jermaine Whirl said they chose a program that could be taught at the jail. He said the inmates were very excited about completing that program, which combined classroom and practical training.

“We want to give them some type of skill, so they can be gainfully employed,” Whirl said. “We’re giving them hope.”

Many people leave jail with no job prospects and get arrested again. While having a criminal record can make getting a job a challenge, he said logistics tends to be a more forgiving industry than others. It’s also a high-demand career field.

“They’re not sexual predators; they’re non-violent offenders,” Whirl said. “They want to be people who contribute to society.”

Jail officials screen the inmates to ensure they’re appropriate for the program. Whirl said he hopes to continue offering the certification and possibly other programs in the future.

“We can’t directly impact the outcome,” he said. “We want to arm them with the opportunity to not return to the prison system, but ultimately, that’s going to fall on them once they leave the system.”

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